2013년 3월 20일 수요일

[발췌: Jacob Viner's Review of Hayek's Constitution of Liberty] Hayek on Freedom and Coercion

출처: Jacob Viner, "Hayek on Freedom and Coercion," Southern Economic Journal, vol. 27, no. 3, January 1961


※ 발췌(excerpts):

(...) this work is primarily a treatise on a major problem of political or social philosophy, namely, the desirable pattern of relations between the state and the individual. If there is special emphasis on economic matters, it is because it is in this area that Hayek sees the greatest dangers from undue exercise by government of its power to coerce individuals.

The economist who writes qua economist on social policy issues presents his conclusions as a rule on a contingent or "ceteris paribus" basis, even when he neglects to make this clear to his non-economist audience. He knows, or should know, that his proficiency as an economist is a certificate of the possession of the requisite knowledge and analytical skill only with respect to a part of the range of relevant instrumental and final values, and that deliberately or from ignorance he is abstracting from or ignoring non-economic considerations which may be of over-riding significance.

It seems clear to me that Hayek in this book is not operating in this manner. He writes with every appearance that he is convinced that in reaching his conclusions he has taken adequately into consideration all the values that are relevant, and all the conjunctures that are actually or potentially important except major emergency situations such as war or danger of war. He manages also to reach his conclusions without giving evidence that to do so he had found it necessary to labor with the weighing and measuring of competing values. Great as are the merits of his case, they are not overwhelming enough, I think, to explain how Hayek succeeded in reaching substantially unconditional conclusions and in avoiding what is, in social thought, the generally unavoidable and troublesome necessity of coping with major conflicts between values. I suggest, as reasonable speculation and inference, that the conspicuous absence in Hayek's argument of ^ifs^ and ^buts^ and of painful wrestling with the task of weighing ^pros^ and ^cons^ in the light of a complex pattern of values and of a supply of information which points in various directions is largely the result of two factors: first, that he selects as his targets extremist forms of opposing doctrines and, second, that for the purposes of his argument he works from an extremely limited set of values. With each of these procedures there is associated a particular logical peril. To attack an extreme position when it is not clear that a more moderate position is open to the same ^kind^ of objections may be, depending on the historical context, to attack a straw man, while to reach final conclusions upon the basis of consideration of a single value, or of a very limited set of values, is liable to result in what has been called "the fallacy of the unexplored remainder."

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Hayek's argument for freedom as essential to economic and intellectual growth rests in the first instance on the claim that free enterprise and the free market, with its rewards for service rather than for "merits," is more efficient in generating income than any alternative system of economic organization, and secondarily, on the claim that economic freedom, despite or rather because of the inequalities of wealth and income that result from it, is the sole possible nursery and protection for the innovating initiative of the gifted individual, for scientific discovery, and for aesthetic achievement. One of the freedoms that Hayek supports is freedom of association, and he characterizes the possibly serious evil consequences of monopoly as so much exaggerated that they are brushed aside in a brief section headed "Monopoly and Other Minor Problems"(pp. 264-266). Trade union monopoly, however is not treated as a "minor problem."

Hayek insists that government is inherently incapable of exercising an important planning role in the development of desirable institutions, and that institutional development should be left to the play of "spontaneous" (that is individual or private) forces. This can be relied upon to produce good results. "No institution will continue survive unless it performs some useful function"(p. 433, note 21). "It is in the pursuit of man's aims of the moment that all the devices of civilization have to prove themselves; the ineffective will be discarded and the effective retained"(p. 36). "All that we know is that the ultimate decision about what is good or bad will be made not by individual human wisdom but by the decline of the groups that have adhered to the 'wrong' beliefs"(p. 36)

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I do not see how this doctrine can be distinguished from "social Darwinism," or from that "historicism" which Hayek has elsewhere so persuasively warned us against. I miss a discussion of the rate of speed at which institutions of the past, like serfdom, slavery, caste, trial by torture, latifundia, religious persecution, head-hunting, and so on, which at least today many regard as ^never^ having been "useful", got displaced, through spontaneous forces, by "useful" institutions. It seems feasible to me to apply Hayek's method of speculative history to government itself, and to treat it, with all its defects and such merits as Hayek may be willing to concede to it, as itself an institution which is in large degree a spontaneous growth, inherently decentralized, experimental, innovating, subject not only to tendencies for costly meddling but also to propensities for inertia  and costly inaction.
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